Review: Sainsbury's FreeFrom Chocolate Mint Crisps

Ever get the feeling you've had something before? These after dinner mint chocolates will be very familiar if you've eaten the Celtic Chocolates version... which we reviewed just last month. Companies like Celtic repackage their chocolates for supermarkets to sell as their own brand and we're sure that has happened here. Sainsbury's also sell a chocolate bar remarkably similar to a Celtic bar. If you missed our recent Celtic review, read on:

Review: Vantastic White Chocolate with Smarties

More from our recent trip to Vx. Vegan white Chocolate with dark chocolate 'smarties'. German company Vantastic make a large range of vegan foods and some of it is available in the UK through Vx and Vegan Store. We recently reviewed their vegan white chocolate spread which was a little disappointing... and didn't contain any cocoa. These white chocolate bars have cocoa butter as the principal ingredient so at least they're authentic... but are they any good?

Review: Nutritious Delicious Lime Truffles

Vegan truffles from Nutritious Delicious, working closely with Montezuma's. We chose the lime flavour, but they also produce orange, vanilla and almond flavours. These truffles have a selling point of being 'good for you', with no refined sugar and with ingredients including lucuma, maca and ginseng. You might believe the health claims, but do they still taste like great truffles?

Vegan Christmas: Redwood Chicken Style Pieces

It's too late to buy these for Christmas Day but if you're looking for the perfect Boxing Day sandwich filling, these faux chicken pieces are the answer. Redwood offer plain and tikka style chicken pieces and they can be eaten hot or cold. Read on for why we recommend you keep it cool...

Vegan Christmas: Montezuma's Chocolate Snowmen

Vegan Christmas: Montezuma's Chocolate Snowmen

Chunky Dark Chocolate Snowmen from Montezuma. These are clearly Christmas treats but we're not quite sure of their intended use... they're not wrapped or they're not for hanging on the tree. They're too big for cake decorations too, so quite where they fit isn't clear. We thought we'd review them anyway to see if they should be on your last minute Christmas shopping list.

Kosher Haul: Vegan Goodies from Vx

A selection from our recent trip to Vegan Cross from kosher producer Paskesz. Trios sandwich cookies, Mint Creme cookies and chocolate covered Nutty Chews. The Trios are clearly Oreo inspired and the Mint Creme cookies are almost exactly like Viscount biscuits in the UK. The Nutty Chews are harder to define.... sort of chewy peanut brittle with a chocolate coating:

More Vegan Mince Pies: ASDA / Smart Price

Do we have a new champion of our vegan Mince Pie Taste Test? The choice of vegan mince pies at ASDA includes their regular deep-filled mince pies and their shallow-filled Smart Price offering. Top marks to ASDA for having a choice of animal-free pies... the only supermarket this year to do so. As usual, we tried the pies hot and cold, to see how they fared. 

Gluten-Free Vegan: OK Foods Mince Pies

gluten-free vegan mince pies

Gluten-Free mince pies from Sainsburys. If the vegan Christmas menu at your house also includes a gluten-free option, then these mince pies are ideal. Large deep-filled mince pies that look convincing as well as appetising. After yesterday's Mince Pie Taste Test, how well can a wheat-free option compare?

Vegan Taste Test: Best Supermarket Mince Pies

A selection of vegan mince pies from various supermarkets for our Christmas Taste Test. Many supermarkets now do both regular and posh mince pies, with the latter having butter pastry. That's fine with us vegans as it means the regular pies are likely to be clear of dairy fat. We took three lots of pies and compared them, hot and cold, to see if there is a clear favourite. UPDATE: includes two sorts of ASDA mince pies.

Review: Alpro 'Fruity & Creamy' Yoghurt

A new rich and creamy version of Alpro's market-leading soya yoghurts. Alpro now have the supermarkets' own brand soya yoghurts to compete with, and are looking for a niche in the premium yoghurt aisle. We chose the peach flavour twin-pack of their new 'Fruity & Creamy' line to see if Alpro have cracked the creamniness code for soya yoghurt.

Vegan Christmas: Lidl Chocolate Marzipan

Three types of plain chocolate marzipan in the Christmas range at Lidl. Whilst much of the Favorina brand confectionery isn't vegan this year, the good old staple of chocolate marzipan doesn't let us down. We were disappointed that the rum and raisin flavour was covered in milk chocolate, but we have pineapple and two sorts of plain marzipan to choose from.

Video: Ms Cupcake's Vegan Baking Tips

The video takes time to load for some reason. Try the YouTube link at the bottom of the post.

Ms Cupcake founder Melissa Morgan shares her vegan baking tips to a packed house at Animal Aid's Christmas Fayre 2012. We've managed to improve the audio and video quality from our original liveblog post.

Liveblog: Animal Aid Christmas Fayre

We're here at Kensington Town Hall for the annual Christmas without Cruelty event. The place is packed out and despite freezing temperatures outside it's certainly warm in here:

Vegan Christmas: Booja Booja Minis

Booja Booja Vegan Truffles

Vegan chocolate truffles in mini packs. Perfect little stocking fillers for the special vegan in your life. These chocolates are the same great truffles that Booja Booja have won awards for again and again. The ingredients are really simple but somehow they combine to make amazing melt-in-the-mouth truffles that really don't taste dairy-free. These cute little boxes contain two little truffle gems in each:

This Weekend: Animal Aid's Christmas Fayre 2012

This Sunday, Dec 2nd, Christmas Without Cruelty. The event takes place at Kensington Town Hall from 10am until 5pm. The annual Christmas Fayre is a big vegan festival with stalls, talks, workshops, competitions and more. The fayre is an excellent place to stock up on cruelty-free Christmas food and gifts. More than 95 stalls have been confirmed, hosting everyone from Ms Cupcake to the Vegan Runners. Admission to the fayre costs £2:

Vegan Christmas: Chocolate Lebkuchen Hearts

Kopernik chocolate lebkuchen

Kopernik brand 'pierniki' as the Polish say, but better known as lebkuchen. We couldn't find vegan lebkuchen from Germany this year, but we found these Polish ones at an independent deli. Lebkuchen are made from a sort of gingerbread and are often coated in chocolate, sometimes filled with fruit puree, and commonly heart shaped... these ones are all of that.

Vegan Christmas: Manner Neapolitaner Wafers

Manner Neapolitaner vegan wafers

Anyone for wafer jenga? Part of our haul from the local Polish deli is a large bag of Austrian hazelnut-cream wafers. We've reviewed Manner wafers before in their snack sized offering, but this large bag is party-sized for the Christmas season. You have to be careful only to choose the Neapolitaner flavour as the others contain milk, but luckily this is the best flavour anyway:

Christmas Cake: Kuchenmeister Cranberry Stollen

Vegan Christmas Stollen

Vegan stollen all the way from Germany. Kuchenmeister supply their christmas wares throughout Europe and as far away as the States and Australia. At least one of their offerings for the UK this year is animal-free: the Cranberry Stollen with Marzipan. Beware of similar ones in Sainsburys by the same company - those contain egg. We bought ours from an independent deli, but you may find these in branches of Aldi too.

Weihnachten: Stollen, Lebkuchen, Spekulatius, Waffeln

Vegan Christmas, German style. We promised to find vegan stollen and lebkuchen and the local Polish deli came to our rescue. We thought we'd put together a selection of traditional German style christmas treats, but we couldn't find vegan domino cubes this year... not yet anyway. Lidl and Aldi have let us down as hardly anything is vegan in this year's Christmas selection, so we needed to look further afield. We've also got three sorts of chocolate marzipan and we'll be reviewing them all shortly.

Vegan Version: The Selection Box... Go Max Go

Go Max Go Vegan Chocolate Bars

British tradition... meet American chocolate... it's the vegan version of the chocolate selection box! The festive favourite has gone dairy-free in time for Christmas. Of course, there's not actually a box in the above photo... you have to imagine that bit... but wrap these Go Max Go beauties up together for Christmas and the recipient will be one very happy vegan! Trust us.

Vegan Christmas: Love Hearts Jumbo Pack

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Eleven. Yes 11 mini packs of Love Hearts in a big tube. How better to show your vegan love at Christmas? Love Hearts weren't always vegan, but since the gelatin and cochineal were removed they are now. To celebrate why not pop down to Lidl and grab some as a great stocking filler:

Redwood Christmas: Vegan Duck & Orange Pate

Redwood Vegi-Deli Gourmet Duck Style and Orange Pate

A special pate for a special occasion. We've no idea what duck tastes like, and there isn't anyone to hand that does, so we won't be reviewing this pate for authenticity! We know oranges though, so expect some reference to that. Vegan Pates are usually based on Tartex and those others in tubes and tubs. This one is based on wheat gluten and has a far better texture and flavour for that:

Redwood Christmas: Vegan Stuffing Bites

Redwood Party Bites - Vegan Stuffing

Party Bites - nibbles for Christmas parties. Warm stuffing bites are perfect with a cold glass of wine. Redwood are doing their best to make Christmas easy for vegans who want it that way. Just 8 minutes in the oven is all you need for to create an appetiser, if dinner is a while away. These stuffing bites could form part of a wider spread - a hot or cold vegan buffet:

Redwood Christmas: Vegan Cheese Selection

Redwood Vegideli: 3 Pack Cheezly Selection

Vegan Cheeseboard

Your dairy-free Christmas cheese board is sorted thanks to Redwood. If you're looking to offer a selection of vegan cheeses but don't want to buy whole blocks, then this pack of three cuts is ideal. The pack offers red cheddar, cranberry and blue cheese styles in a handy size for your cheeseboard. We grabbed a selection of biscuits and crackers and put the cheeses to the test:

Redwood Christmas: Roasts, Bacon Wrapped Sausages

Redwood Gammon Style Roast Sausage and Bacon Style Wraps

Cheatin' Christmas is here early thanks to vegan favourite Redwood. We're reviewing their festive range of vegan meats, cheeses and pates, starting with their Gammon Style Roast and Sausage and Bacon Style Wraps. The gammon roast is a Christmas special that isn't available for the rest of the year, and the same goes for the wrapped sausages. We put the two together for a Sunday Roast to see if they're a contender for Christmas.

Liveblog: Leicester Vegan Fair (Autumn 2012)

We're here in Leicester on a mild Autumn morning for the second vegan fair of the year in the city. Read on for our liveblog of the day's events.

This Weekend: Leicester Vegan Fair, Sat 17th

Leicester Vegan Fair
#LVF #leicesterveganfair

This Saturday in the East Midlands it's the return of the Leicester Vegan Fair. Consider this one an Autumn Fair, or an early Christmas Fair. After the success of the summer event this year, the team are holding an even bigger and better fair. The event takes place this Saturday, November 17th, at Avenue Primary School, just behind the University, running from 10:30am until 3:30pm.

Taste Test: Best Vegan Advent Calendar

Moo Free, Plamil or Celtic? Dairy-free faux-milk chocolate advent calendars from the leading vegan chocolate makers. You've got just two more weekends to buy your calendars before the start of advent. The choice this year is better than ever and you can pick your favourite brand of milky chocolate to enjoy over the advent period. We do like to pick a winner though, so on with the Advent Calendar Taste Test!

Vegan Christmas: Divine Fairtrade Chocolate Coins

Kids love chocolate coins. There's something about the double joy of something you can play with... and then eat. If you're looking for an ethical stocking filler for children, these Divine fair-trade coins are ideal. Although they're 70% dark chocolate they're not too bitter. These dairy-free treats are sure to please as a Christmas gift:

Vegan Christmas: Kingsway Chocolate Liqueurs

Dark chocolate brand-name liqueurs bought from... Wilkinsons. Yes, following our recent trip to Poundland we extended our budget browsing to include Wilkos. To be fair to Wilkinsons they've gone upmarket recently, but this is no good thing for their vegan selection, which is now limited to one or two items like these chocolate liqueurs filled with Cointreau, St Remy and Teachers: